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Wanderlust With The Anthony Bourdain of Antiques | Sourcing African Art | Toma Clark Haines | The Antiques Diva & Co

Wanderlust With The Anthony Bourdain of Antiques

If you’ve ever attended one of my lectures at High Point Market or the D&D geared towards interior designers you’ll inevitably have heard me say “The most important tool you can have in your toolbox is a passport.”  Mine is battered, covered with baggage tag stickers and filled with page after page of stamps and visas. In my current passport, I have only 10 blank pages remaining. (Note to self: Order Extra Pages). Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” If that’s the case, then I’ve been living a well-read life.

More and more during these last few years, I’m taking time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. As business travel is a regular part of my life the easiest way to do this is adding days onto each trip to bookend a business trip. This last month has had a heavy focus on travel – with my vacation to China followed by a business trip across the USA to High Point, New York, Boston and London.

Often as an individual I’ve got my eyes set on the horizon looking towards the destination – I sometimes get so busy considering my plan and next steps of action that I forget to celebrate the milestones. 

I dream big.  

And in order to achieve big things – it’s necessary to dream bigger than everyone else around you.  

But life is a journey – not a destination. 

As I write, I’m on the train, the Frecciarossa, en route home from Piemonte from Easter weekend with friends. At home on my bedside table is Eckart Tolle’s Power of Now – a reminder to simply enjoy the Great Big Right Now. I’m soaking up the moments – and as a result, I am finding more and more inspiration each day. For design. For writing. But also just for day to day life. I’m cooking more. Being more creative in general. I’ve even pulled out my watercolors which I haven’t played with in years.


Design Inspiration can come from anywhere. Often it’s my travels that inspire me, sometimes it’s an everyday object that I see in a new way, people I meet and places I go that weave themselves into my soul. When my friend Alessandro told me he was moving to China he gave me Andrea di Robilant’s book Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and his Last Muse. He told me the title was important, “Hemingway because you were an English literature major in uni. Last Autumn because it’s my last autumn before I move. And Venice IS your muse.”

Design Inspiration Comes From Anywhere – The Antiques Diva Collection by Aidan Gray


He was right. Moving here has inspired me. Venice is an obvious choice for inspiration – but inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Those who follow me on Instagram were fascinated when they learned that the leather on my Roccoco-style bench in my Antiques Diva Furniture Collection by Aidan Gray was inspired by the designo leather in my Mercedes SUV.


Last week I was struck with Global Design Inspiration while visiting friends in England at the end of a business trip. The entire world was brought to me in one destination. Ascott House is a palace-like Jacobean black and white timbered cottage that was the creation of Leopold de Rothschild and architect George Devey. It’s a quintessentially English Country House with exquisite English antiques standing alongside Dutch and Flemish masterworks and fine French furniture and art. I nearly ran into a Rodin as I stepped backward in the Billards Room turned Library.

Photo Credit: Asian Art Brief files


In the library I looked around – the room was beyond cozy – but something felt different. It was more casual than one would have expected a formal library. (The photo above makes the space look much more formal than in real life). When I commented on the unusually light color of the wooden library shelves the docent confessed, “though it’s now a National Trust estate the family still uses the property – and they stripped the wood to make the room more airy.” Bingo! I suddenly realized why I loved the house so much. That was the difference. While it is a museum – it’s still a family home part of the year.  

It’s the perfect example of how to live with antiques.    

But not just any antiques – Ascott House could be the pictorial definition of the word wanderlust. It’s layered with generation after generation of antiques, textiles and embroideries from the Grand Tour and the Silk Road. The Silk Road was the ancient network of trade routes that connected the East with the West. It meandered along the northern borders of China, India, and Persia and wove through Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. It was important because it helped to generate trade and commerce between a number of different kingdoms and empires but trade was not the only purpose of the Silk Road. Just as on the Grand Tour young men and women learned the most important developments in language, arts, court etiquette, legal and political systems, science and culture, the Silk Road was also about the exchange of ideas.

The more we travel, the more we open our minds.  

In a conversation recently with a television producer, I was told that Americans don’t want to see TV shows filmed abroad. “How can  you travel the world through antiques if you’re not interested in the travel aspect?” I wondered. It seemed incomprehensible. Was the producer telling me the entire American viewing audience had Xenophobia – the fear of foreign places? I’ve made a career out of making both international antiques and foreign places accessible – I’ve been called the Anthony Bourdain of antiques – that girl who travels the world uncovering lesser-known places and exploring their cultures and antiques – then sharing my #Divascoveries with my followers.

As humans – as humanity – we grow when we’re connected with people and places outside of ourselves. We are all connected. What happens in one part of the world, impacts another. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect?  The theory is based upon an idea if you track the path of a hurricane from its inception, you’d see that it was all caused by a change in air pressure caused from the flap of a butterfly’s wings three weeks prior and halfway across the world. The Silk Roads network of connecting pathways changed history because the people who traveled along part or all of the Silk Road planted their cultures like seeds carried to distant lands.

Bringing your travels home has long been a tradition in interior design. A classic English Country House simply wouldn’t be an English Country House without its global influence – seeds plucked from faraway places and transplanted at home.  

Ascott House exemplifies the East Meets West decorating vibe. My favorite room is the living room where you’ll find Ikat silk chapans from Uzbekistan repurposed into Roman Shades. Someone painstakingly de-assembled vintage robes and hand-stitched the fabric together to form patchwork, and then used the patchwork to make the fabric for the blinds. In one corner of the curtain, you can see still see the vague outline of the sleeve of an arm. The whole setting is very Robert Kime – one of my favorite London Interior Designers known for his elaborate use of antique textiles, creating what 1st Dibs calls, “comfortable classically English Rooms that his clients – including Prince Charles – say they never want to leave.”  

I found myself thinking about travel, collecting and interior design as I toured Ascott House. What is it that makes us desire to see far away places and to bring a piece of it home? Is it a Napoleonic desire to conquest? A holdover from the caveman days of hunting and gathering? Why do we collect? Is it merely a means to give meaning to our lives – making an emotional connection to a period, place or time? Or does it have deeper meaning? 

As Ascott House caused me to contemplate my own travel I thought about how antiquing abroad has influenced me over the years. The Antiques Diva started because I was traveling the world. Some people buy a t-shirt on holiday. I buy antiques as my souvenir because that’s what interests me. The French word souvenir means memories, and for me – that’s what I am doing when I antique abroad. I buy memories. 

Traveling and antiques have always been intertwined in my mind. As a child, I remember family dinners when my mother pulled out the antique silver that my grandparents brought over with them on the boat from England to America. This cutlery represented not only my family’s heritage but faraway places that influenced how we lived. I saw antiques as a way to be transported to other times and other places.


While traveling in China last month one of my favorite moments was in Kaifeng, the 11th Century Song dynasty capital. My friend and I had stumbled into an antiques and artisans two-story gallery that was partially abandoned. Antique furniture, fragments and tools were propped against walls, while porcelain and lacquerware filled the shelves. Men gathered at card tables played mahjong near their stalls. One of the things I Iike about antiques is that antiques unite us. When you go antiquing, people with different backgrounds, interests and passions collide. Each person can find something that speaks to their soul. My friend Alessandro is a physicist and etno-mathematician. On a purely surface level, we couldn’t be more different if we tried. I lost track of him while we were browsing the stalls and at a certain point, I rounded the corner and saw him bent over a box smiling from ear to ear. He looked up and showed me what he’d found – an antique abacus, a Chinese counting tool. Ironically, he was the one who bought antiques that day – not me.

Meanwhile while touring this gallery I was introduced to something new. I’d become obsessed with the Chinese traditional painting. In the gallery nearly 2 dozen artists had ateliers and you could watch them dip their brushes into black ink or water-based color pigments, creating patterns on paper or silk using traditional themes, materials and techniques. Watching the artist paint felt like peeking through the window into the soul of the country. Guóhua, as traditional Chinese painting is called, is one of the three pillars of Chinese culture (the others being medicine and opera.) Chinese painters tend to learn their craft by copying earlier masters in order to build their foundation.

To understand the past is to understand the future. 

Elizabeth Hammer, Head of Sales of Chinese Classical and Modern Paintings at Christie’s New York explains that “the most prized Chinese traditional paintings are those that reveal the artist’s personality and character. It is believed that an evil person cannot make a fine work of art. To really understand an artist’s works, it helps to learn his or her biography, and about the times in which the artist lived.”

Last year during the Architectural Biennale in Venice I met the team from Chanel who were documenting Coco’s life, travels and inspirations for Chanel’s in-house archives. “We need to see what she saw, be influenced by her influences, to design a brand that stays according to her vision.” Once you’ve traveled, that knowledge of a country, it’s people, traditions and architecture, their decorative arts and their environment, the natural world – the subtle sense of a place – will continue to inform you.  Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”  

But it’s not just Paris that’s a moveable feast – all your travels – your adventures – are your personal progressive dinner.    

Photo Credit – Asian Art Brief


For me, while visiting Ascott House my olfactory memory went straight to the Silk Road. Having just been in China last month, my jaw dropped when I walked into Ascott House’s Porcelain Room filled with turquoise and purple-glazed ceramics from the mid to late Ming dynasty (1368-1644) displayed in specially designed bamboo cabinets. The collection was formed by Anthony de Rothschild when he used a buying agent (the 1920’s equivalent of an Antiques Diva Guide) to help him source pieces that suited his tastes. 

In the end – that’s what it all comes down to. Taste. Buy what you love.  Whether you’re an antique dealer, interior designer, or a private antique buyer – that is the best advice I can give you. Buy what you love. As Elizabeth Hammer of Christie’s explains, “Follow your instinct when collecting and buy something that delights you.”

Interior designers Justin Shaulis and Robert Passal
with Toma Clark Haines at our NYC Antique Dealer Workshop

As I close I challenge you:

Go someplace new.  Do something new. Maybe you can’t go to Uzbekistan this week – but you can seek out an Uzbek restaurant. Take yourself on an Artist Date. Last month in New York City we did our first ever Antiques Dealer Training Workshop. Interior designers Justin Shaulis and Robert Passal joined us as guest speakers for a break-out session, advising our attendees on How Antique Dealers Should Work With Interior Designers. While closing, Robert told a personal story of his own career and how he became an interior designer after he read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way – a book that also inspired me to launch The Antiques Diva & Co. In her book, Cameron advises each week to take an Artist Date. Make time for yourself – on your own – to do something enchanting. Expose yourself to new places and new ideas. Where will you go on an Artist Date this week?

To Book Your Antiques Diva Tour in 16 Countries
or inquire about our new Training Program for Antique Dealers email toma@antiquesdiva.com 

Happy Wandering,
Toma – The Antiques Diva

Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva and Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazar at HPMKT

The Timeless Bed

Toma-Clark-Haines-The-Antiques-Dive-at-HPMKT

Toma Clark Haines meeting with rockstar interior designer Justin Shaulis

Let’s Meet atToma-Clark-Haines-Brand-Ambassador-Pandora-de-Balthazar High Point Market!
I will be at Pandora de Balthazár’s Suite at High Point on Sunday, April 23, from 3-6pm. To schedule a high-powered business meeting with me (in bed, bien sur!) email for an appointment: toma@antiquesdiva.com. 

The Art of Sleeping 

As someone who travels for both work and pleasure constantly, I find myself in many different time zones, often sleeping on planes, trains, or automobiles – hopefully not while I’m at the wheel but rather curled up in the passenger seat of the car! When I have the luxury of sleeping in my own bed, I want to enjoy every single second of it! 

Becoming Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár has changed my life because she has taught me so much about the art of sleeping. Yes, it is an art! From selecting the right linens, to making the bed, to actually getting into bed and calming your body as it prepares to sleep, Pandora is an expert on getting the most out of the 1/3 of your life you spend under the covers. To help people achieve a light, soft, yet crisp sleep experience, she’s developed something called The Timeless Bed.

The Timeless Bed is the complete infrastructure that enhances the sleeper’s comfort due to its architecture of support and insulation, which assists in regulating temperature, allowing the body to breathe. How many times have you climbed into bed on a cold night, covering yourself from head to toe, only to awaken in the middle the night completely drenched in sweat? That is NOT a Diva-like experience! Hmm… Diva’s glisten and glow, not sweat! Pandora’s Timeless Bed addresses temperature issues by creating a soft fluffy feeling while also remaining airy so you rarely feel the need to toss the covers away. 

The Timeless Bed

Experience The Timeless Bed by Pandora de Balthazár

The Timeless Bed starts with a natural mattress protector filled with either cotton, wool, down or batten. The protector fits tightly and protects the sleeper from chemicals in most mattresses. Next, comes the down mattress pad. Unlike a traditional feather bed, this natural, machine-washable Hungarian down and feather mattress pad comes in an 80/20 ratio. Mattress companies have been trying to address top-of-bed issues such as temperature control without much success. The Timeless Bed’s mattress pad creates a breathable corridor of air beneath the body, which is a critical element in Pandora’s success. The down mattress pad is then topped with not one but two fitted deep-pocket sheets. Why two, you ask? The bottom fitted sheet protects the down mattress pad and keeps it clean, and the top one keeps all of the aforementioned substructure firmly in place. 

Next comes a flat bottom sheet of 600 to 1000 thread-count which should not be tucked in, but remain floating. These sheets are cool, crisp, and substantial. If desired, antique linens can be substituted for the bottom sheet. All of these layers are under the body, giving a cloud-like effect while remaining breathable. 

Over the body, a flat top sheet drapes, again untucked. On top of this sheet goes a very light sleeping duvet. Pandora’s light duvets are the lightest on the market and are machine washable, which makes maintaining them a breeze. You could also use a heavier duvet based on personal preference. By adding Pandora’s European Sleep System to The Timeless Bed, you will complete the perfect bed! 

Once this foundation is in place, it’s time to add fun pieces such as antique pillow cases, blankets and other decorative items. Throw pillows made from decorative pieces of antique textiles are a great way to add personality to The Timeless Bed as well. 

Toma Clark Haines and Pandora de Balthazar and The Timeless Bed

Toma Clark Haines and Pandora de Balthazár

Just like a fine antique French chest made from solid wood, then adorned with marquetry, ormolu, and beautiful hardware, The Timeless Bed begins with a firm foundation built for function and can be adorned to suit any taste. 

Sleep well,

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®




A Day With Elizabeth Baer

Dear Diva Readers,

We recently took The HighBoy on a whirlwind VIP tour of England—and when I say whirlwind, I mean it! We were constantly jetting from one antiques fair to another, working our way from London to Wiltshire and back, stopping off at secret sources and private houses in between. Our UK Diva Agent, Gail McLeod, set the agenda and added in a very special stop near Bath. She arranged for us to spend an afternoon with renowned antique textiles dealer Elizabeth Baer at her lovely home.

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Gail has been involved in the Bath Decorative Fair for years and that is where she first met Mrs. Baer in 1989 where she was a vendor. As a star attraction at this and other fairs, Mrs. Baer would sell textiles like hot cakes, often to top U.S. dealers who would wait in line to see her. She’s sold to just about every Hollywood name and supplied textiles and costumes for countless films – I was completely smitten by the fact that Anna Wintour has been a long-term client. Now in her late 80’s, Mrs. Baer is still active in the trade and sells inventory by appointment only in her gorgeous house, which is a “miniature” Georgian manor house in the heart of Bradford on Avon.

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

As you would expect, this quintessential English lady has a beautiful garden which welcomed us when we arrived. Seeing the large, heavy front door open, we knocked and made ourselves known, and seconds later the lovely Elizabeth appeared from around the corner. She greeted us warmly and asked us to come inside the spacious foyer, where a few bolts of fabric lay on the entry table, hinting at what was in store for us.

A tour through her home revealed generously proportioned rooms, one connecting to the next, filled with antique furniture, textiles, and special bits and bobs, all telling the story of a life well lived. When in the living room, she noted the relating color palates of a painted antique blanket chest and two pair of curtain panels. “Rather than try to invent new color combinations, look for old color recipes that work. They’ve been around a long time for a reason,” Elizabeth advised. As we made out way to the sitting room, decorated in mostly pink hues, she informed us that every piece of furniture was upholstered in old curtain fabric. While stroking a velvet cushion, she shared another wise piece of advice. “The key is to enjoy what you’ve got and not be envious of what anyone else has got.”

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Climbing the stairs, we got a peek into the private life of this stylish lady as she invited us to see her bedroom and extremely chic bath/dressing room. The use of antique textiles was perfection—the bed canopy, the yards and yards of drapery panels, the upholstered furniture just begging to be lounged on—all gorgeous. We even got to see her small work room where she makes everything from totes and cushions to padded hangers and basket liners—always with bits of remnant fabric and trim.

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

To end the afternoon, we went to the lower level of the house where she keeps her stock for sale. After being served coffee on a tray—she is, after all, a gracious hostess—we perused shelves of fabric, trims, and remnants. We settled on a few table cloths and tea towels, finding that one was not enough according to Elizabeth, “You must have one on the table and one in the wash.”

Antique Textiles, Elizabeth Baer, Gail McLeod, The Antiques Diva, The HighBoy, Bath Decorative Fair, Anna Wintour, Gracious Living, Textiles, English Decorating Tips

If you’re interested in antique textiles, you must check out her blog. She tells stories of her business ventures, offers up worthwhile advice and entertaining anecdotes that are sure to leave you inspired. For more information on our English Antique Buying Tours or Antique Textile Tours in general email us at info@antiquesdiva.com.

Cheers,

The Antiques Diva® 




Decorating with Antique Textiles

Dear Diva Readers,

Antique textiles are a great way to add character to your home, particularly when you want to create warmth and depth. For centuries, textiles have been used both functionally and for decorative purposes. In medieval Europe, large tapestries hung on the walls of great estates and castles to help keep cold draughts out. However, these intricately woven pieces were often highly decorative as well, often telling stories or incorporating nature and architecture. While we don’t need tapestries to keep the cold out today, their decorative nature keeps them on the list of sought-after pieces in the interior design world.

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

cuscino, Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

When it comes to antique textiles, repurposing is also the name of the game. We find that clients often purchase antique textiles and have them made into one-of-a-kind pillows. Imagine perfectly worn velvets enhanced by intricate brocades being sewn into custom throw pillows. How decadent! These are the perfect additions to sofas, beds, and chairs that really add that element of personality to a room.

Vintage fur coats, Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Speaking of pillows, we’ve even seen people purchase vintage fur coats and create decorative—and plush— pillows from them. It’s a great way to repurpose something that may otherwise never be used again.

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Of course, special antique textiles are art in themselves. Our Diva Guides in Venice, Italy know this to be true. They have access to collections of museum quality textiles from Italy and Asia that can act as artworks in a well-curated home. Simply by taking a remnant of an ancient piece of embroidery and framing it in a modern frame, you can achieve a very sophisticated look that would be at home in a traditional or contemporary space.

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

Lastly, whether you count them as textiles or not, antique rugs are always a great addition to a well-decorated room. They are not only soft with interesting patterns, but they were made to last. Think about it— a rug is something that gets a lot of wear every day!

Decorating tips, Decorating with Textiles, Antique Textiles, Antique Rugs, Decorating with Tapestries

However you choose to decorate with antique textiles, one thing is for sure—you’re going to be adding warmth and personality to your home! If you would like more information about taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour or utilizing our Buying Services abroad, email us at info@antiquesdiva.com.

Stay warm,

The Antiques Diva® 




Venetian Textiles

Dear Diva Readers,

Every antiquer has their little obsessions… pieces that capture their imagination and their mind.  For me it’s antique textiles.  I have a weakness for them, running my fingers over pieces I shouldn’t touch, fascinated with texture and patterns.  While I love French and Belgian fabrics, it’s the Venetian textiles with their rich 1000 year long history that most captures my imagination.  Famous fabric weavers like Bevilacqua, Fortuny and Rubelli represent three different stories of a 12th Century tradition which turned Venice from an importer of luxury Eastern goods exported to the Western market into a producer of lavish fabrics. Woven on enormous and complicated looms, the production was regulated and protected by a strict legislation. The earliest precious textiles, the “samites,” were inspired by the East, especially Byzantium. The decoration was reproducing wheels with symbolic animals like lions and parrots and were enriched by other details that were brought to Venice from China by Marco Polo at the end of the 13th Century.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

And while we always think of the east influencing the Venetian textile design in fact one of the most important contributions to Venetian style actually came from within Italy.  The weavers of Lucca sought refuge in Venice for political reasons in the 1300’s – with them they brought and shared their traditions, cultural styles and creative talents, weaving them – if you will – into their adopted culture. This unique sharing of practical knowledge made possible the production of velvets that incorporated spectacular motifs and designs.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

In the 15th Century new floral patterns came from the East and inspired fresh Venetian designs. This combination of East and West is always present in Venetian textiles and is what makes Venice’s art, architecture and products special and unique. Our local Venetian Guide Orseola  explains, “We were the gateway to the East.  The Serenissima Repubblica – as Venice was known in the past – imported Eastern luxury goods.  Not just art and architecture but they imported carpets and textiles and different ideas and ways of thinking.  Venice is very different from the rest of Italy.  We’re not just divided by our canals, but rather we’re divided by our mindset –  we always look outward for inspiration.” 

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

Today, gorgeously preserved textiles can be purchased and incorporated into traditional or modern homes. One of my favorite sources for textiles happens to be our Venetian Diva Guides antique business O&C Antiques that they run in addition to leading our Veneto Antique Buying Tours.  They’ve taken fragments of a highly ornamental Venetian textile and framed them in contemporary, minimal ways making antique textiles some how feel modern and relevant.  Appreciating antiques textiles as art is an excellent way of incorporating them into your home.  While I’ve always had a passion for textiles I’ve found over the years I tend to pick up little pieces here and there… but they get tucked away in a cupboard.  Thanks to O&C Antiques I’m thinking outside the box with my antique textiles.  Do you have any ideas on how can you display them as art.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy,

If you’re as interested in Venetian textiles as me – consider booking our Venetian Textile tour that not only allows you to shop but delves deep into the local culture and historical traditions.  But don’t stop there… moving beyond in Tuscany you can continue this textile tour in a sensational way, exploring the culture of Italy through art, politics and local traditions.  Our Tuscan Guide Susan has some amazing secret sources up her sleeve that we can’t wait to share with you.

O&C Antiques, Venetian Textiles, Italian Textiles, Antiques Diva, Antique Textiles, Tuscan Antiques Tour, Buying Antiques in Italy, Toma Clark Haines

Ciao Bella,

The Antiques Diva®




The Antiques Diva Shops Venice

Dear Diva Readers,

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Mamma Mia… When an assignment to go to Venice to write about the local antiques scene arose, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And while I was looking forward to my trip  – who wouldn’t be? – what I didn’t expect was the arsenal of antiques that awaited me. I was surprised to discover a varied inventory, ranging from museum quality antiques, statues and paintings to 16th, 17th and 18th C painted furniture, Venetian chandeliers and mirrors as well as gorgeous antique jewelry and antique textiles.  And the kicker? I didn’t just find tourist prices.  These pieces were selling at market value when you entered with a local. I shopped in private palazzos and in by-appointment-only antique stores deep on back canals and calles I’d never heard of in districts where you found quiet spots the tourists hadn’t discovered or wandered off the beaten path.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

On the arm of 2 local antiques dealers – Chiara and Orseola, the latter of whom happens to be from one of the 6 noble families in Venice (and an ancestor of the doges) – I visited local antique dealers, friends of her family and was invited in as if I, too, were a friend of the family. I found myself surprised at every corner that this is not a city just for the tourists to shop – but that some of the top dealers in the world are sourcing at antique shops you’d never discover without an insider making an introduction.  (Between you and me I’m utterly convinced I found more than one of Axel Vervoordt’s secret sources though the dealers had complete discretion).

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

While these ladies were helping me rediscover Venice for an article I was writing, I realized this discovery was too big for simply a magazine feature with a word count limited at 1000.  This was my 6th trip to Venice – yet I had never felt so embraced by the city as I did when I visited it with insiders.   I wanted to be able to share what Chiara and Orseola  had taught me. It wasn’t just about sharing the antique address… but was about giving insider access to the Venice only a local knows about.  Plus, when antiquing, Chiara and Orseola give the kind of access that happens when a local calls instead of one of the millions of tourists who come each year.  You will show up in a tiny shop and be invited to the vendor’s home on the nearby campo to see more of the collections. Only a small part of the inventory in Venice is kept in store fronts where the space is limited.

Hand made fabrics, Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

After antiquing in Venice several days with Chiara and Orseola I asked these ladies – the dealers who choreograph the amazing collection at O&C Antiquesto join my team as our newest The Antiques Diva & Co Guides leading antique buying tours in Venice and to my great pleasure they said “Si! Si! Si!”, delighted by the opportunity to share their world.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Thanks to a partnership between The Antiques Diva & Co and O&C Antiques, Venice – The Queen of the Adriatic – has just become Antiques Diva Territory!  Stay tuned for more details as along with Chiara and Orseola we share more details on how you can bring Venetian Antiques home.

Venice, Buying antiques in Venice, the Antiques Diva, O&C Antiques, Where to buy antiques in Italy, Venetian Culture, Antique Textiles,

Ciao Bella!
The Antiques Diva®

 




Diva-scovery: Juliana Antique Textiles

Dear Diva Readers,

In 2009 I wrote I a blog post titled “Buying Notions in Italy” where I shared my passion for tassels, trims, tiebacks, cords and bows. Judging by the amount of emails I got from readers on this topic, my passion for passementerie is a shared one. The French say that passementerie adds that certain “je ne sais quoi” – that little something extra- that puts the finishing touch on a room.

When I received an email from Juliana King, the brainchild and beauty behind Juliana’s Antique Textiles, asking for sources in Europe, I knew I had met a kindred spirit & now I bring you today’s Diva-scovery!

Juliana also adores passementeria (as well as antiques) but she’s taken this passion and designed a career for herself! She’s a pillow designer, but she doesn’t just make ANY pillow. Juliana combines antique embroideries and tapestries (and other interesting textiles) then carefully selects from her collection of European metallic “galloon” trims and sews them onto luxurious velvets, making gorgeous pillows fit for a diva!

A Few Diva-licious Pillows from Juliana Antique Textiles:

Queen
15 x 18 – Rare antique European hand embroidered crown appliqué with metallic threading and jewels. Blue topaz velvet hand trimmed with tiny dark gold vintage metallic cording from France. $422

Remy
18 x 18 – Antique gold and silver hand embroidered metallic ecclesiastical appliqué of a pelican feeding her young. Champagne velvet hand trimmed with vintage gold metallic soutache from France. $550

Adele
16 x 16 – Antique French painted tapestry bordered with antique French metallic old gold galloon on creamy velvet and self-corded. $410

Juliana first became interested in textiles on a visit to the Guatemalan markets 17 years ago where she began to appreciate the hours and energy poured into hand-sewn goods. While studying in Spain during her college years, Juliana fell in love with anything European and old. Becoming enchanted by antique European textiles was inevitable!

Juliana is constantly amazed by the incredible precision and workmanship that went into the antique embroideries featured on her pillow fronts. With the utmost of care, she creates one-of-a-kind unique pillows utilizing these pieces. And when a pillow goes from her personal collection into a clients home – adding that final perfect touch, that certain je ne sais quoi – Juliana is thrilled that another precious piece of our past is preserved, living on, garnering the attention and admiration it deserves!

Diva-scovery: Juliana’s Antique Textiles!
Visit Juliana’s website: www.antiquetextilepillows.com

Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™




Dutch Calendar Alert: Amsterdam Traditional Textile Fair

Mark Your Calendar A’damers for The Amsterdam Traditional Textiles Fair – Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Kerk De Duif
Prinsengracht 756
Amsterdam

10am – 6pm

Entry 7 Euros

A diversity of textiles will be presented and sold including batik, embroidery, indigo, ikat, plangi and quilts; weavings from all over the world such as African textiles of the Ashanti, Bambara, Ewe, Fanti, Haussa, Kuba, Kente, Nupe, Shoowa, Woodabe, Yoruba. Also textiles from Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Chinese minorities, Philippines, India, Pakistan, India, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador; antique textiles from Europe for example cashmere shawls, lace and linen kitchen towels.

For more information, click here.




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The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

The Antiques Diva & Co is a LAPADA Approved Service Provider 

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